Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase emailed me (and, of course, any of you) with a note about a $100 statement credit to offset the newly increased annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

$100 Statement Credit for Chase Sapphire Reserve

Remember the new $550 annual fee starts April 1st (today) and was a $100 increase over the previous annual fee. In exchange, Chase added a variety of Door Dash and Lyft benefits to the Sapphire Reserve. It’s nice that for this year, we’ll get those additional benefits at the old annual fee. My understanding is that this applies to cardholders who are renewing in the next 3 months.


The secure message from Chase reads:

Subject: A $100 statement credit toward the annual fee on your Reserve credit card

We recognize this is a difficult time for everyone. As a way to help, we’re providing you a one-time $100 statement credit toward the 2020 $550 annual fee on your Reserve credit card. On an upcoming billing statement (based on your renewal date), you’ll see a $550 charge for the annual fee, followed by a $100 statement credit. We will continue to bill the $550 annual fee in 2021. Because this credit only applies to open Reserve accounts, if you’ve closed your Reserve account or traded to another credit card before your renewal, you will not receive the $100 statement credit.


A nice gesture

The small and unasked for reprieve is certainly welcome. It’s certainly possible that with travel on indefinite hold, some people may have trouble using the included $300 annual travel credit. That said, I used mine in January and given how easy the travel credit is to use on the CSR vs just about any other card (it’s automatically applied to any travel right down to parking meters and Ubers) I think that most to all cardholders will wind up using the credit within their 12 month cardmember year anyway.


Will other premium card issuers follow?

I’d like to see premium card issuers with travel credits think about offering either: 1) a similar annual fee credit to offset the lost ability to use various credits or 2) extension of these credits for an additional year.

hilton aspire
Hilton Aspire

As an example, you can only use the $250 resort credit on the American Express Hilton Aspire credit card once per cardmember anniversary. I upgraded to the Hilton Aspire card late last summer with the intention of using that $250 resort credit on the stay we booked at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives for next month. That trip is now on hold (maybe in the winter?) but I’ll lose the window to use the $250 credit for the year, even though I paid the full annual fee calculating that credit into my math for if that annual fee is worth it.

If I rebook definitively for late in the year, I suppose I can call the resort and ask to prepay $250.

But what Amex should really consider doing is extending all credits due to expire during the next 6 or so months and allowing them to be stacked into the next cardmember year (or calendar year, depending on card product). So in the Hilton Aspire example, as long as I pay my renewal fee this summer, I would have $500 in credits to use by the end of 2021.

The same thinking applies to the American Express Bonvoy Brilliant credit card and its $300 stay credit.

Both of the above cards have a $450 annual fee that are largely offset by the statement credits.

Other cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Business American Express Card, Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card, and the World of Hyatt credit card don’t need to do anything, since they offer “free night certificates” and the hotel brands themselves have already all announced extensions of the certificates expiring this year. (kudos to them being proactive!).

But other ultra-premium cards like the Platinum Card from American Express offer “airline incidental fee credits” which really do require you to travel to use them. You can’t pay for seat selection if you can’t fly and airlines are already waiving change fees. Amex should consider a proactive credit on these cards or the “stack to 2021” I mentioned above.


What are your thoughts on this topic?

Let me know here, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards

New to all of this? The MilesTalk “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.


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